The American Ambassador, Her Excellency Stephanie Sullivan, today called on the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin to congratulate him on his ascension to the high office of Speakership. The two spoke about a number of key issues pertaining to the development of their respective countries. Conversations were also centered on health, agriculture and environmental issues.
Speaker Bagbin expressed gratitude for the good relations between Ghana and the United States and made reference to the fragility of Ghana’s democracy, saying that a look at the country’s political make up points to the fact that Ghanaians are no longer interested in partisan politics and that they expect the two main political parties to put the interest of the country first and to collaborate more for the ultimate good of the country. He also emphasized the fact that accountability is a key ingredient for Ghana’s progress and urged the political class to be mindful of this. The Speaker also spoke about the need to strengthen the institutional capacity of the legislative branch of government. He also added the need for Members of Parliament to be given offices and personnel in their constituencies for ease of consultation and work in the constituencies.
Ambassador Sullivan, among other things, congratulated the Appointments Committee and said the way the Appointments Committee conducted its business during the vetting process sent a strong signal that Parliament’s work will not be business as usual and that Parliament now takes its scrutiny duties very seriously.
She also spoke about the need for strong trade relations, referring to an earlier statement made by the Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu which stressed the need to strengthen the private sector since it is the engine of growth.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu spoke about the benefits of the many knowledge exchange programmes between the two countries and emphasized the need for improved trade relations and a further strengthening of the private sector since it is the engine of growth for any economy.
The Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, spoke about the indicators used for measuring child labour and child trafficking which shows Ghana in a bad light and urged the US to posit the phenomenon in its proper context, saying that by our culture, Ghanaian children do assist their parents and relatives in their economic endeavors and this, by no means has anything to do with child labour. Hon Iddrisu also spoke about the menace of money laundering and called on the US to help state institutions to block illicit transfer of funds. He also mentioned the need to make state institutions more responsive to the Covid 19 pandemic than they are being.
The Speaker was assisted by the Second Deputy Speaker, the two Leaders of the House and two Deputy Whips as well as the Clerk to Parliament and some staff of the Parliamentary Service.